Houseplant of the month: November - Rhipsalis

The indoor plant of the month for November is the extraordinary Rhipsalis. What makes this hanging plant so unusual is that it is actually a cactus, but with no spines to speak of. The Rhipsalis will make you feel as if you’ve brought a little piece of the jungle into your home. Looks fantastic on a sturdy branch or other decorative piece of wood or stone. Choose a flower pot that has a rugged, natural look and transform your Rhipsalis into the bright green star of the show. 

This air-purifying indoor plant is a rapid grower, whose long, spindly tendrils creep towards the ground or grow upward into a bushy shape. The plant is also called ‘stone coral’ and is about as low maintenance as you can get. The Rhipsalis is a great plant for the absent-minded caretaker, thrives easily, and, under good conditions, can easily be a green treasure for your home.

Caring for your Rhipsalis

The Rhipsalis prefers to hang in a bright location and can even handle full sun. However, a location with slightly less light will allow the plant to flourish. Water the plant a little bit every week: it’s fine if the root ball begins to dry a bit between waterings. Forgetting to water it once in a while is not much of an issue. Are you hanging the Rhipsalis in the sun? If so, water it more often. Once a month, you can add some organic plant food to the water. The plant also takes well to being sprayed every once in a while. If the tendrils grow too long, you can easily trim them.

Rhipsalis background information

The Rhipsalis is a tropical succulent native to the rainforests of Central and South America, Africa and a few islands in the Indian Ocean. It is the only cactus that grows in the wild outside of North and South America. There are about 60 different types of Rhipsalis, most of which grow on tree trunks. In the wild, they produce many small white, yellow, orange or red flowers, which turn into berries when pollinated. When grown indoors, this does not occur. The rainforest origins of the Rhipsalis mean that it also possesses air-purifying properties.